When a company is growing, many things need to be assessed regularly. It may be that not only the premises but also the IT environment is running out of space and begins to bind resources instead of freeing them up. What should be taken into account when planning to outsource all or part of the IT services? In this blog, we collected things that, in our opinion, guarantee the successful outsourcing of IT services.
Everything is based on trust and cooperation
The first step in any outsourcing process is, of course, choosing the partner. It is no small matter, as there are many companies to choose from and the commitment to cooperation is long-term. Working communications links, backups, server reliability, data security – all of these are vital to companies today. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that you can trust the partner of your choice.
Trust is built on a number of elements:
- Does the selected partner really bring significant added value to the continuous development of the IT environment?
- Do you get along with your IT service provider’s staff? If the chemistry is not right, many things are going to be difficult.
- Does the partner handle things as agreed? Do you receive meeting memos, is the promised work done on time, do you feel that they need no pushing or supervision? Can you get a clear picture of the content of the services and do the presentations look professional?
- Do you get personal service? Or are you a single customer among a large number, having your individual needs overlooked due to lack of interest or time?
- Does the service provider have a vision of how your company’s IT environment should evolve to support your business goals in five years’ time, for example?
When choosing a service provider, you must take into account that they will be handling your company’s most important things: data, servers and connections. If your partner doesn’t inspire trust, you are way off base!
The right service provider knows what to do
Every company has experts for each job, but how to ensure the real level of competence? The most obvious way to do that is through references. Ask the salesperson which of the IT service provider’s current customer you could call. It is a good sign in itself if they have a suitable reference for your company right away – and, similarly, it is suspicious if no one wants to speak on their behalf. You can and should ask the reference customer strict questions to which you will hopefully receive honest answers. Since no project or firm is 100% perfect, they should also be able to name at least one development target.
Another way to probe the level of expertise is to ask for the opportunity to speak directly with the IT service provider’s technical team at the sales stage. It is especially good if you can involve someone from your own company who has an in-depth understanding of the subject, because sparring between experts can be very fruitful. You may not necessarily understand much of what the technical experts are talking about, but a good expert can also interpret the most important parts of the discussion for you.
Once you are well advanced in choosing your service provider and fairly confident about who you want to work with, there is another way to ensure your future partner’s real abilities: a test project. For example, we at Itaito often use this when we want the customer to be sure of the quality of the service they will receive. In this case, the agreement is made conditionally: it enters into force when the test project has been completed to the satisfaction of the customer. For example, we can deploy two-factor authentication as a project, and once it is approved and the agreement is signed, we will only charge half of the normal fee for the test project. This way, we will be able to test the cooperation in practice before signing the actual agreement.
Scalability and continuous development
If there is one type of companies for which the scalability of services is important, it’s growing companies. Changing service providers every couple of years is burdensome and expensive. That’s why it makes sense to choose a partner who will grow with your company. The service provider must be able to provide your company with services of the same quality, regardless of whether you have five or 150 employees or any number in between. A good partner is also able to provide enterprise-level solutions and services to small companies without the customer having to invest too much in them.
When it comes to scalability, it is also a good idea to spend a moment thinking about developing the IT environment. There are many IT companies that are good at maintaining the current environment, but that’s not enough for a growing company. A good partner also understands the goals and development needs of your business and is able to create a plan on how the environment should evolve in order for your business to achieve its goals. “One size fits all” certainly doesn’t work in IT services – every company has different needs and requires a partner who is able to prepare in advance even for future challenges.
A growing company should not underestimate identifying its development needs, and a suitable partner is able to offer solutions and services that support the customer’s strategic development. If the customer’s vision is highly mobile workforce and mobility, the IT environment can’t be built around hardware servers, but the target must be in cloud services. A good partner listens to your company, knows its strategic goals and can independently propose a roadmap supporting them for the development of the IT environment.
Decide your priorities
As a final tip, when choosing a partner, you can find the most suitable one by being able to define the things that are most important to your company already at the tendering stage. Are you willing to compromise on the service selection if it brings down the price, or is it the technically best partner or the range of equipment that matters most? You probably won’t find a partner who perfectly meets all the needs of the world, but you’ll surely find one who best knows the things that matter most to your company. Good luck choosing your IT partner! Naturally, we are just an e-mail or phone call away and are happy to tell you what we can do. Check out Itaito’s services at Itaito.fi/It-palvelut